Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Cristiano Ronaldo for lifting “everyone” at Manchester United after he scored a dramatic late winner against Villarreal.
United looked to be heading for another disappointing result as they were drawing 1-1 in injury-time.
However, Ronaldo finished from a tight angle in the 95th minute to give United a much-needed win in Group F following their opening defeat to Young Boys.
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Asked about Ronaldo, who has now scored five goals since his return to the club in the summer, Solskjaer told BT Sport: “He’s so good in front of goal, he has an impact on everyone, the crowd, the players, the whole club.
“Sometimes it’s not about pass here and pass there, it’s the crowd, they have sucked a few balls in before, and when you have Cristiano on the pitch there’s always a chance.”
Paco Alcacer had given Villarreal the lead before Alex Telles equalised with a fine volley from outside the box.
“It’s massive for the players,” added Solskjaer. “To win games in this fashion after we lost a game in that fashion in Berne [against Young Boys] is great. I’d rather have a win and defeat rather than two draws.
“They are a very hard team to beat, they haven’t lost a game since way before the [2021 Europa League] final and they have played some good teams. It’s a difficult one because we are at home and want to win but they play so well that if we don’t go and press them then they will be happy enough sitting off.”
Solskjaer also credited Jesse Lingard for providing the assist after coming on as a late substitute.
Lingard has only made one start for United this season but came up with a crucial touch to set up Ronaldo to finish.
“Jesse was probably not happy playing before but that’s what you do if you are a sub,” said Solskjaer. “You come on and make an impact.”
United midfielder Bruno Fernandes added: "I always had the feeling we could win the game. And when they scored I felt we could come again and turn it around. After the goal of Ale the push from the fans was unbelievable. Some amazing saves from David [De Gea] to keep the score at 1-1. Then at the end...strikers have that feeling to score and Cristiano helps us again.
"We finished with two strikers and we know any ball in the box they will be alive to it. We know they can score at any moment and that is why we continue with crosses. We are happy with three points."
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